Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pakistan’s efficient response helped cope with floods, says ambassador

The Daily Times (Pakistan) sounds upbeat: Six months after unprecedented floods uprooted millions of lives, Pakistan has defied all gloomy predictions to emerge stronger through resilience of its people and efficient governmental response to the catastrophe, Islamabad’s envoy to the United States said.

Ambassador Hussain Haqqani was highlighting the Pakistani nation’s recovery efforts in the face of last summer’s devastating floods – the first natural disaster in recent memory – that displaced 20 million people and inflicted a loss of over $9 billion according to a World Bank study.

Pakistan, he told a Washington think tank, has been striving to reconstruct its vast areas swamped by the floods and is confident of a full recovery from the calamity of epic proportions with sustained support from its friends in the international community.

But, he pointed out, contrary to Western media speculations about instability in the immediate aftermath of the natural disaster, the Pakistani state has remained stable, functional and cohesive. It has lived up to the enormous task of saving flood victims from disease and starvation and enabled their return to homes for a fresh start. In fact, the ambassador said, Pakistan is on its way to achieving a better economic growth than initially feared dismal outlook.

Simultaneously, he noted, the country is marching towards democratic consolidation and overpowering the terrorist challenge through a combination of national policies and determination of its people. “One major reason that Pakistan cannot face an uprising of the type that is currently passing through the Middle East and North Africa is that it has political institutions in place which can both articulate and alleviate the concerns of its masses,” the envoy said in a presentation at the Atlantic Council….

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